Spokane Journal of Business

Avista names first female president

Rosentrater’s promotion follows a 27-year career at power company here

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Avista Corp. has promoted Heather Rosentrater, 46, to president and chief operating officer.

She will be Avista’s 15th president—and its first woman president—in the Spokane-based power company’s 134-year history, a press release states.

Her role is effective as of Oct. 1.

“At every turn since joining Avista, Heather has positioned our utility to be on the forefront of innovation,” says Avista CEO Dennis Vermillion.

Rosentrater has worked for Avista for the entirety of her 27-year professional career. She began as a student engineering technician for Avista Labs in 1996, followed by a role as an electrical engineer three years later. 

Several leadership positions followed, where she managed departments and projects across both electric and natural gas divisions. 

By 2015, Rosentrater was named vice president of energy delivery. Four years later, her duties expanded as senior vice president of energy delivery and shared services.

Since last August, Rosentrater has served as senior vice president and COO for the electric and natural gas power company.

Avista credits Rosentrater with leading the successful implementation of its smart grid grants provided by the Department of Energy under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which Avista used for electric grid upgrades.

“Heather has demonstrated she possesses the skills and strength, acumen and insights to lead Avista during these unique times,” says Vermillion. “She’s established a reputation as a thought leader who constantly challenges Avista and our partners to strategically anticipate what’s next.”

In response to Avista’s announcement, Rosentrater says, “I look forward to continuing to tap into our deep, rich history of innovation, to partner with our customers in new and mutually beneficial ways, and to engage with our incredible employees to forge our future together during this transformative time in the energy industry.”

Avista also is promoting Bryan Cox, vice president, safety and chief people officer, who will become senior vice president of the same role.

The promotions come as part of an ongoing commitment to succession planning and strategic workforce planning for the utility company.

Avista Corp. is a Top-20 Spokane County Largest Employer, with 1,033 full-time employees here, according to the Journal’s most recent list, published last December.




Erica Bullock
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Reporter Erica Bullock has worked at the Journal since 2019 and covers real estate and construction. She is a craft beer enthusiast, who loves to garden and go camping with friends.

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